As parents try to structure their kids’ days with no school day to rely on, it’s important to remember to save time to get their energy out and give them the opportunity to just play. Below are suggestions from a local elementary school physical education teacher.
With all the club sports, in school testing, and structured schedules your children have throughout the school year, this would be a great time to give them unstructured play time. If you really need some Physical Activity ideas, check out:
I still recommend unstructured play time. It’s OK if they do not know what to do at first, they will figure it out just like you did when you were a child. If it’s nice out, most of this should happen outside.
I use a variation of this in PE all the time. Have your children “unlock” desired activities. Determine what those are and set a limit. Example: My kids favorite reward currently is the Nintendo Switch. In order for them to “unlock” x amount of Switch play time – they had to complete, as a team, two specific chores. You are the judge if it was done correctly or not — make it a dramatic Pass or Try Again! We all know kids stink at chores, so this is a great time to sharpen those skills.
If your kid is into schedules, great. If they aren’t, great. But let us be honest here… the schedule is mainly for you. You do you but don’t feel like kids require schedules.
Limit the Stress
Kids understanding what is going on with this virus can be important, but it’s not needed. Kids are smart. They know a bad bug is going around but they don’t need to stress over it. They don’t need to watch the news on it. They just need a strong mom/dad to protect them and pray for them. After you tuck them in for bed, have some wine with your spouse and watch some trashy dating shows. It works wonders on stress levels!
I mess up a lot as a teacher. The key is to be transparent, have fun with it, and give them NO doubt you care about them. You will mess up a lot during these next few weeks of “homeschooling”. Please remember that you are not on evaluation, and there are no expectations of you hitting any of the National Standards. This is potentially just 9 weeks of education out of roughly 468 instructional weeks in your children’s K-12th grade journey. It will be OK.
Colby Dischinger is a physical education teacher at Overland Park Elementary and dad to four kids, ages 9 and under.